Picture Book Reviews · Picture Books

The Go-Away Bird by Julia Donaldson and Catherine Rayner


The Go-Away Bird sits up in her nest. The other birds want to talk and play with her, but the Go-Away Bird finds them too chatty and scatty and greedy and just plain not to her satisfaction. She sends them away one at a time. Then a whole other type of bird comes along. A big, bad Get-You bird. Suddenly the Go-Away Bird can see the value in friends and supporters. 

A witty and wonderful tale about the value of friendship from master storyteller Julia Donaldson. 

img_8685What I love about Donaldson’s works is she writes new classics. Short tales which are timeless and could be told and retold for centuries. They are like the very best stories we know from childhood and are full of relatable characters. We have all felt hunted like Mouse, or unadventurous like Snail or quite frankly unimpressed with people like the Go-Away Bird.

She’s a beautiful character. I love the Go-Away Bird with her grouchy expressions and tail feathers in the air and her beak turned up in disgust. Catherine Rayner’s imaginative illustrations have brought her to life in a way which is as memorable as any of Donaldson’s best-known characters.

I adore the background of foliage and sky, the pale washes of colour and the brightness of the feathers. The different birds are equally beautiful and when they get together they look like streaks of colour across the sky. 

Having a favourite Donaldson is like having favourite chocolate – most people have a range because different stories are the best on different occasions. The Go-Away Bird is up there among my favourites. It is simple but that’s the genius of it. It is almost as if I have always known the story. As if it emerged out of the mists with our best-loved tales. I rooted for the character from the word go because although she was flawed she was only as flawed as the rest of us. 

Another winner from Julia Donaldson, and beautiful work from Catherine Rayner whose style was just perfect for the tale. 

Louise Nettleton


Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Books UK for my gifted copy of The Go-Away Bird. Opinions my own.

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